A year ago, Priscilla Knight, Dayna Muhleck, and I decided we had to help in the fight against human trafficking. We wanted to get into the community and give people tools to end modern day slavery. We talked about how we all have God-given gifts that we could use to unlock freedom for those still wrapped up in bondage. Although there are so many ways to help those in captivity, we realized that the community needed ideas in order to reach out to those around them. People need encouragement to know that they can fight against human trafficking. To know that any way that they can and do help makes a difference.
Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the fact that there is an tremendous amount to be done. We find that Satan tells us lies that keep us frozen in fear. Our fear consumes all hope that anything we do will make an impact, to the point where we do nothing. But when we nothing, sin continues to thrive. The three of us weren't sure how this organization would take off or what exactly God had planned for it. We gave ourselves a year to figure out where we were suppose to go.
SO, a year later, after starting The Key Project, we wanted to reach out and share who we are and why we became activists fighting against human trafficking. We hope this encourages you to fight along side us in the battle. Here we go!
I started learning about human trafficking when I was in high school. I was learning about all these injustices that happen in our own community. I hated the thought that people would take advantage of the vulnerable. Especially children, the most vulnerable of them all. I knew I had to do something about this. I couldn't sit here and read about what was going on. I wanted to fight for the voiceless and show those trapped they are worthy of freedom. I went to Madonna University because I felt the Lord’s direction to start my own nonprofit. I went into Interdisciplinary Studies that focused on fighting against human trafficking. I am extremely passionate about setting those free that are enslaved. Since trafficking effects every part of our society and it is not an issue that is most common; it becomes a community issue. I always felt the Lord calling me to work in my community because mission work can be found right where you are. The problem with Livingston County is they don't want to acknowledge the poverty, homelessness, and the drug problems here. This is why there is a need for people to become informed and to be active alongside the community. I wanted to start The Key Project as a way to get people more involved. That together we can stop this horrible, disgusting crime. The Key Project is a way for you to have the tools needed to fight. "Is this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" Isaiah 58:6
I first heard about human trafficking when I was in high school. Before learning about human trafficking, I had only known what I had briefly come in contact with in movies and shows. In entertainments example of sex trafficking, it was always shown as a chosen lifestyle. They rarely presented the individuals in a true light, that they were victims, taken advantage of, manipulated and abused. Sometimes the movie industry would even jazz it up to look glamorous. After expanding my knowledge on the subject, I have come to despise the common stigma that is generally associated with sex trafficking. After first hearing of the true horrors of human trafficking, I was furious with the fact that human beings could do such disturbing things to another. Over the years, I have strived to constantly expand my knowledge of the human trafficking world and share my passion and understanding of it with others. My main focus for being a part of starting The Key Project was to help educate others in the truths of human trafficking and how to fight it. I have always had a burning passion to fight for anyone who was oppressed and beaten-down. My calling is to stand up without hesitation for those who are unable to defend themselves. My heart is consumed with a desire to know and love the broken, to have the ability to show even a sliver of God’s perfect love through my very inadequate love. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
The moment I first heard about human trafficking in my high school years, my heart broke in grief over the tragedy of this practice. It’s beyond my comprehension to think that slavery today still exists and in such a secretive and deceptive way that not only exploits the physical labor of the individual being trafficked, but also corrupts their dignity to where they are perceived as shameful instead of valuable. With knowledge comes responsibility, but not every need is a call. The Lord specifically burdened my heart with the grief of human trafficking. I have faith that all victims will be ransomed and justified by Christ when He returns. I believe that He is near and will heal their wounds; however, I also believe that God doesn’t want me to sit by idly and watch the slave trade industry grow. What exactly is it that God wants me to do, though? I ask that question in present tense, because He still is guiding me in the way He would have me go to defend the cause of the voiceless. The biggest role He is developing in me is to be a voice through prayer. "Pray without ceasing" 1 Thess. 5:17. Why pray? JESUS PRAYED. He set that example. If He prayed, then all the more reason for me to never cease praying. Another role is to use my heart’s passion for deep relational communication, to speak truth and pray that in some way truth will further inspire meaning and value in individual’s lives. I believe that truth is from Christ and that we can find the fullness of our identities (meaning, value, etc.) in Him. When Mariah approached me with the Lord’s inspiration for the Key Project, He tugged at my heartstrings. There is a need, not just overseas, but RIGHT HERE, in our community, for more defense and more safe havens for trafficked victims. What could we do to support existing causes, support causes that keep lives off the streets, and support further causes that fight the slave trade? THE KEY PROJECT.
When we first started, we related the issue of human trafficking as a battle. We were ready to arm ourselves with the weapons to fight. We wanted to give others the tools to join us while we ended slavery. Our hearts were focused on giving the voice to the voiceless. "O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the dark may strike terror no more" Psalm 10:17-18. As we heard the cry for justice in our communities, we did not want to go without the Lord leading our way. We understood how Moses felt when God called him to lead the Jews to freedom. Our mission is to constantly bring glory to the Lord while we fight for the freedom of others.
Here we are a year later. We have more passion about working in our community. We see the need for more safe houses and more relationships with those who need freedom and those on the road of recovery. They need to see they are made wonderfully in the image of God. He has a purpose for them outside of slavery. Will you suit up and join us in the battle? Be a part of being the voice for those enslaved. Show these people held captive that they are loved and worthy of freedom. We have new ideas and projects ahead in the next few weeks. Do you want to become a warrior with us?
"We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible... so we will do it anyways."
- William Wilberforce